Digital Citizenship - Getting Started

In this excellent article,  How To Tackle Digital Citizenship During The First 5 Days Of School, Holly Clark and Tania Avrith have suggested ways to introduce Digital Citizenship in your classroom.

Click on each heading to see a list of resources to support each of the five steps discussed in the article.

1. Creating an Acceptable Use Agreement WITH Your Students - Give Them a Voice

2. Discussing “Online Privacy”

3. Understanding Personal Identity – Personal Brand and Reputation

4. Determining Digital Communication

5. Discussing Digital Etiquette

1. Creating an Acceptable Use Agreement WITH Your Students - Give Them a Voice

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson: Digital Citizenship Pledge (3-5)

Students will establish group norms to create a positive online community that promotes responsible and respectful digital behavior within their classroom.

Lesson: With Power Comes Responsibility (6-8)

Students explore what it means to be responsible and respectful to their offline and online communities as a step towards learning about the characteristics of good digital citizens.

Lesson: My Online Code (9-12)

Students discuss their understanding of ethical behavior and are introduced to the concept of online ethics.

Example: Family Agreement - Our Agreement About Being Online

As a family it is important to have a common understanding of what is and what isn't appropriate behaviour online. Childnet have provided a list of positive statements to help you make your family values known. It is important that emphasis is not simply placed on the child to make good or bad decisions - all family members should sign up to these values.


Child Pledge for Digital Citizenship

Parent Pledge for Digital Citizenship

Examples of Digital Citizenship pledges as both a child and adult.

Example: Grade 5 Acceptable Use Agreements

Within this unit students have been exploring what digital citizenship means (using their devices in safe, respectful, honest and responsible ways).  

Resource: Posters

Find useful posters for Junior, Intermediate, and Senior students.

2. Discussing “Online Privacy”

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson: Talking Safely Online (3-5)

Students learn that, while people can develop rewarding friendships online, they should be cautious with online-only friends and never reveal private information without asking a parent or trusted adult for permission.

Lesson: Private and Personal Number (3-5)

As students visit sites that request information about their identity, they learn to adopt a critical inquiry process that empowers them to protect themselves and their families from identity theft.

Game: Privacy Pirates - An Interactive Tutorial on Online Privacy

This tutorial introduces children, ages 7-9, to the concept of online privacy and teaches them to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information better kept private – and to recognize how this may change in different contexts.

Lesson: Online Marketing to Kids - Protecting Your Privacy (6-9)

This lesson introduces students to the ways in which commercial websites collect personal information from kids and to the issues surrounding children and privacy on the Internet. It begins with a guided discussion on what type of information is valuable to marketers, and the methods that they use to collect this information online. Students also compare Canadian voluntary guidelines to American legislation for the protection of children's privacy online.

Lesson: Privacy and Internet Life (7-8)

This lesson makes students aware of online privacy issues, primarily those relating to giving out personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook. Students will learn to assess the various types of information they provide in Facebook profiles, along with the different levels of access. They will examine the potential risks and consequences of posting personal information on the Internet, and become more aware of how to protect their privacy.

Lesson: Privacy in the Information Age (11-12)

This unit is designed to help students develop a critical awareness about privacy and the security of personal information.

Lesson: Safe Online Talk (6-8)

While acknowledging the benefits of online talk and messaging, students consider scenarios in which they may feel uncomfortable, or may encounter inappropriate behavior on the Internet.

Lesson: Secret Sharer (6-8)

Students look beyond protecting their own privacy to respecting the privacy of others online.

Lesson: Risky Online Relationships (9-12)

Students learn why the term “online predator” is misleading, and how to identify more realistic forms of inappropriate contact. Students then discuss a story about a teen’s risky online relationship, and draw conclusions about how to stay safe online.

Lesson: Privacy Today; Public Tomorrow (9-12)

Students reflect on their responsibility to protect the privacy of others when posting information about them online.

3. Understanding Personal Identity – Personal Brand and Reputation

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson Idea: What Online Information Do You Want Linked to Your Name?

Teacher Blog: What online information did they want connected to their names 10 - 15 years from now? Students created a list of ideas at school and they also talked to their parents about it at home.

Lesson: The Ups and Downs of Digital Life (6-8)

Students reflect on the possibilities and pitfalls of digital media for themselves, for their relationships with people close to them, and for society at large.

Lesson: Digital Life 101 (6-8)

Students are introduced to the 24/7, social nature of digital media and technologies, and gain basic vocabulary and knowledge for discussing the media landscape.

Lesson: Who are you online? (9-12)

Students explore how they and others represent themselves online, and the relationship between online and offline selves.

Lesson: Digital Life 201 (9-12)

Students test their knowledge of digital media and talk about the role media plays in their lives.

Family Tips & Resources:

Tip Sheet: Privacy and Digital Footprint (K-5)

Tip Sheet: Privacy & Online Digital Footprint (9-12)

Tip Sheet: Building Your Brand - Establishing A Positive Presence Online

4. Determining Digital Communication

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson: Sending Email (K-2)

Students explore how they can use email to communicate with real people within their schools, families, and communities.

Lesson: Writing Good Emails (K-2)

Students explore the components of a well-written email.

Lesson: Forms & Norms (6-8)

Students will learn the forms and norms of effective communication in an online context.

Email 101

Are you new to email? Perhaps you are wondering just how people communicate online? This introductory course will teach you the basics about email, including understanding how email works, where you get email service from, and how you communicate properly and safely online.

Email Tips for Scams and Spam

Email has become an essential tool for communicating, which is why it is so popular with scammers, cybercriminals and advertising companies. In order to protect ourselves from phishing scams and malware, it is essential that we learn how to safely manage our mail. In this lesson, you will learn tips for managing spam and email attachments. In addition, you will learn how to identify and avoid phishing scams.

Podcast: The Death of Formality and Email Style

Email has been around forever and there's been lots of talk about how it's old-school to use it, and how kids these days find it passé. And yet, it's still the main form of communication in the workplace, and yes, among us old folks above 30. It remains prescient that there is still a vague and wide-ranging concept of email etiquette.

Family Tips & Resources:

Tip Sheet: Effective Email Communication (K-5)

5. Discussing Digital Etiquette

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson: Picture Perfect (3-5)

Students consider how digitally manipulated photos can affect the way people feel about their appearance, as well as help sell products.

Lesson: Oops! I Broadcast it on the Internet (6-8)

Students are introduced to the benefits of sharing information online and the potential risks of sharing inappropriate information.

Lesson: Promoting Ethical Behaviour Online (7-12)

In this three-part lesson, students learn about online privacy and ethical behaviour by exploring their digital footprints to better understand that our online interactions may not be as anonymous as we think they are.

Collection of Lessons: Facing Online Hate (8-12)

Framed around key concepts of media literacy, the Facing Online Hate tutorial examines how the Internet is used to spread and incite hate, how radicalization occurs, and how youth encounter hate online both through traditional hate sites and “cultures of hatred”. The tutorial also provides strategies for building critical thinking skills in young people to help them understand the nature of online hate, how they may be targets and how to respond appropriately when bias, stereotyping and hatred are encountered online.

6. Cyberbullying Prevention

Supporting Resources

Resource Description

Lesson: Introduction to Cyberbullying: Avatars and Identity  (5-6)

Students will learn to recognize cyberbullying behaviours, and become aware of the impact of cyberbullying on individuals. Students will discuss the differences between face-to-face and online communication.

Lesson: Cyberbullying and the Law (7-8)

Lesson: Cyberbullying and the Law (9-12)

Students learn and discuss the legal aspects of cyberbullying. Using hypothetical scenarios they will consider questions such as: How does cyberbullying differ from offline bullying? What aspects of cyberbullying make it a cause for legal action? What is the role of the school in cyberbullying?

Lesson: Promoting Ethical Behaviour Online (7-9)

Students learn about online privacy and ethical behaviour by exploring their digital footprints to better understand that our online interactions may not be as anonymous as we think they are.

Tip Sheet: Cyberbullying Prevention Tips Sheet for Students

Video: Cyberbullying Prevention Tips for Students

This video and tip sheet allow students to discuss how to prevent cyberbullying.

Grade 6s continue their #digitalcitizenship discussion. What's on your digital footprint? @tdsb #tdsbict

— Alvin Curling PS (@CurlingTDSB) October 15, 2015

More footprints."Who is in charge of what goes on our digital footprint?" "Can we erase something?"#tdsbict #digcit

— Alvin Curling PS (@CurlingTDSB) October 15, 2015